Recently I have seen a couple of signs around cities in Canada and the U.S. saying that judgment day and Jesus' return is on May 21, 2011. Seeing these signs kind of made me angry and shake my head at fanatical Christians who are obsessed with the end times. Then this morning I read Matthew 24 and it threw a whole new perspective at this obsession with the end times.
In Matthew 24, Jesus is talking to his disciples about the end times because the disciples had asked Jesus these things were happen and what kind of signs there would be when Jesus returned. Here is part of Jesus response in verses 36-44: "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only...Therefore stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
When I read the words of Jesus I can't help but notice that he blatantly says no one knows when the end will happen. He says the Son of Man (himself) is coming at an hour you do not expect. When I read that I say to myself "what is the point of guessing May 21, 2011 for the end of the days. Jesus is pretty clear that we do not know."
Another thought hit me as I read Matthew. If we spend all our time writing books, posting signs, and trying to convince people that the end of the world is May 21, we are missing the point of the Great Commission. We become so consumed with the "end" that maybe we because lukewarm and complacent with our faith. If the end is coming on May 21, why would we bother having church or youth group or continuing to grow in our faith? I mean, the end is coming so what's the point.
I think that is why Jesus told us to live in expectation. And expectation does not mean "guessing" when the day will be. It means living with the excitement knowing that Jesus will one day return in all his glory and power. But it also means realizing there are so many people that do not know the saving power of Jesus' grace. Maybe God is waiting for us to continue to spread the Gospel before he comes back? But the point is not consuming our lives trying to figure out when it will all end. Instead, why not be apart of the redemptive plan of God, so when the end does happen, more people will rejoice because they have a relationship with God.